Friday, February 18, 2011

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

This was my book club's current month's selection.  I've also had the book on my shelf awhile, waiting to be read.  I really enjoyed it, and I think it will generate good discussion at our meeting.

During an unusual blizzard in Lexington Kentucky in 1964, Norah Henry goes into labor a bit early.  Her husband David, an orthopedic doctor, drives her to the clinic he shares with an obstetrician, who has unfortunately driven his car off the road and doesn't make it to the clinic.  This leaves David to attend his wife with the help of his nurse, Caroline Gill.  He delivers a healthy baby boy, and is then surprised to deliver a second baby, a girl with Down's Syndrome.  He asks Caroline to take the baby girl to an institution (a common practice in 1964).  Caroline agrees, but when she sees the institution, she can't leave the baby there; instead she takes the baby, leaves town, and raises her as her own child.  Meanwhile, when Norah wakes up from anesthesia (another common practice of the time), David tells her that she had a second baby who died at birth.  He believes he will spare Norah grief and heartache, but this lie haunts him the rest of his life and creates a wall between him and his family.  It was well written and I rate it 4 out of 5.  It was my second book for the New Author Challenge 2011 and my third book for the Off the Shelf Reading Challenge 2011.

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